This is the second part of my unique opportunities with Dark Eldar series. In this we are digging to find combinations and tactics that really make the dark eldar what they are. We are leaving out the obvious, and getting deep into the codex. I plan on posting pt3 either tomorrow morning or later on Thursday. So check back.
The Ability to Kill During Movement
One of the things that hit me early on, before I even had the codex in my hands, was that Dark Eldar are deadly throughout your turn. No other army can take such advantage of each phase of the game as dark eldar can. I have discussed the advantage of Assault armies over shooting at tabling your opponents in the past, because it gives you an extra phase to kill the enemy. Well, no longer are you limited by simply shooting during your turn, and close combat during yours and the opponents assault phases. Dark Eldar can cause severe casualties during your movement phase. While this might seem a small thing, it has shown in my games to be such an advantage and moral breaker (player and units) that I think it is something more players need to take seriously.
First lets side track a little look at Shock Prow's. These are nice as they allow you to tank shock and ram. Ramming seems like a one way ticket, but hey, nothing like a raider delivering a S10 hit on an objective game after your lance has been destroyed. Tank shocking is nice though. You are a skimmer and can fly over units to hit your target. You can take Torment Grenade Launchers to give units a -1 to leadership (although I just let leadership fall where it may and go without). GW did however give units a chance to survive multiple tank shocks, here is the recent rules change to the FAQ.
Q: What happens when a vehicle tank shocks a unit that is already falling back? (p68)
A: The tank shock will be resolved in the usual manor. Note that passing the Moral check for a tank shock will not cause the unit to regroup it will just prevent them from fleeing again.
What this means is that units no longer auto fail to tank shocks and continue to run off the board without checks. It also means they will be getting the chance to death or glory you, so just don't run through the melta model in that unit. Plan your tank shock well. You will still have opportunities to break people off the board, its just not a slam dunk with tank shocking anymore.
Besides tank shocking someone off the board, Dark Eldar have a very unique way of using the movement phase; killing the enemy with flyby attacks. Remember that in any phase that a unit takes 25% casualties they are required to make a moral test, if that unit is already broken, they auto fail. This no long applies to tank shocking, but for 25% casualties they just fail and run again. Make sure you land nearby them, so they just keep going on your turn.
Taking chain-snares grants you d3+1 hits on all non-vehicle unit you pass over during the movement phase, resolved immediately, cover saves taken as normal. Remember that you are directly over them, so they had better be in area terrain to get a cover save. Chain-snares can effect multiple units that you fly over. So if you are hauling butt, and go over 3 different enemy units, they all receive d3+1 hits. Do this once with Raider A then again with Raider B, and you are starting to get somewhere depending on what you are flying over.
Reavers are the kings of killing during the movement phase. Each reaver comes with Bladevanes. D3 S4 AP- hits for flying over. You can only effect a single unit with your reavers flyby attacks. With cluster caltrops on every 3rd Reaver, you replace your D3 S4 hits with D6 S6 hits. With Reavers you get 36" of movement to get in your attacks, that means rd1 you can hit a de-mech'd unit with up to 18 S6 hits and 21 S3 hits (that is the max) with a single unit.
The ability to kill enemy models during the movement phase is huge. It gives you another chance to break enemy lines with yet another moral check and it can double or triple up how far a broken unit flees (by causing another 25% casualties in your shooting phase). If your enemy is somehow able to swarm your webways (have yet to see someone able to pull this on me), just kill them during the movement phase and your troops can come in through the gaps you've created.
Never before have we seen an army that is able to take such advantage of the movement phase. When you are killing the enemy during every phase of the game except their own movement, you've just made yourself an efficient killing machine.
Combining this ability to hurt people in the movement phase with the ability to manipulate going first, are you are taking the Strike Hard, Strike Fast to a whole new extreme.